November 13, 2007
Junior Minister in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) with responsibility for Public Utilities Hon. Carlisle Powell, flipped the lever on November 13, 2007, to commence ground water drilling operations on Nevis at upper Hamilton Estate. He expressed his delight with the start of the project which formed part of the government’s continued development thrust on the island.
“As the person ultimately responsible for water on Nevis, I am absolutely delighted that the project has begun, to provide Nevis with up to one million gallons of water per day. This company is very experienced in this type of work having done exactly the same thing in Tobago, Trinidad and throughout the Eastern Caribbean. So I am just so delighted to be here today to see the process started.
I am hoping that I will be able to come back here in the not too distant future to say to the people of Nevis that yes we have found water and that would be the end of Phase I “¦ So we are happy to be a part of this process where we continue the development of Nevis by looking for water. I am absolutely delighted and optimistic that we will be able to find some water and we will be able to put this water in the system in the not too distant future,” he said.
The Minister explained that at the end of the first phase, there would be additional work of sight preparation, a pump station, pipe installation to get the water to the reservoir before it becomes usable to the people of Nevis.
Meantime, Clerk of Works at the Nevis Water Department Mr. George Morris who was present at the drill site said the occasion was a proud moment for the Department and to witness the project come to fruition. He noted that the last water well drilled on the island was in 1995 in the New River area.
Mr. Morris explained that his association with the project had entailed a close working relationship with geologist, Dr. Ronald B. Hoag Jr. of Bedrock Exploration and Development Technologies (BEAD) the company contracted to undertake the ground water drilling explorations, to locate land owners of the areas that had been identified for the exploratory drilling.
“My job has been to locate land owners and try to get the ok to do the exploratory drilling. So far I have met with good success, the people are very cooperative once we explain to them the process and what we are doing, people are very happy. We have had no problems so far in getting permission to drill anywhere on Nevis,” he said.
Notwithstanding, Mr. Carlyl Charles Operations Manager of Lennox Petroleum Services Limited, the Trinidad based energy company engaged in the drilling operations gave the undertaking that the project would have no negative impact on the island’s environment due to the method used in the operations.
“Our method of drilling is outside the conventional system of drilling which is mud rotary drilling”¦We use air, water and foam (soap) which is very biodegradable, non toxic it is like dishwashing liquid basically. That assists us in bringing the cuttings up to the to creating a viscous environment down hole and enabling us to bring and float up the finer cuttings and get them out of the hole.
“There is no harm absolutely not in anything that we use. In regards to the drilling as I said it is air, water and very, very slight soap (foam) when needed. If we have incompetent rock and it is coming up then we don’t need to use that. For your environment I understand there are concerns, from our aspect there is absolutely going to be no dangers at all of us exposing any effluence to the environment and I don’t foresee having bad water neither that we are going to drill to even cause this. So to answer a question per say of how friendly is the operation to the environment I would say very,” he said.
Mr. Charles explained further that on completion of any drilling, the sight could be returned to its natural state and the company did not indulge in the use of cement unless if a sanitary seal is needed.
“We don’t indulge in any cement, if we are going to be using any cement it is what we call the sanitation seal when the well has been finally completed and proven to be successful, you will put some cement at the top to prevent surface contamination. Other than that no toxic chemicals are used in our operations absolutely none at all.
“We can, at the completion of the project, bring our location we call the drill site, back to its natural habitat because we try as much as we can not to interfere with the natural contour of the land going in to get the sights done,” he said.
The company he said had vast experience in oil, gas and well drilling operations and had supplied equipment and senior labour for water well drilling for more than 12 years. Over the past six years they had successful operations in other Caribbean islands namely in Antigua, Montserrat, St. Lucia and also in Trinidad and Tobago.
“We have had a lot of experience in the bedrock or consolidated rock formations drilling up outside of Trinidad and have been also very successful. I am very optimistic after working with the teams partly of Bedrock Exploration and Development Technologies (BEAD).
“They are reputable enough and we have had great success with them. and I don’t foresee us not having success. I don’t want to quantify it but we should be successful and be able to aid the needs of Nevisians in the aspect of water,” he said.